GoNNER Reviews

  • AdayinAdayin589,337
    07 May 2020 08 May 2020
    14 11 5
    I don't normally write reviews, but this game warrants one. And not in a good way. I've gotten all the achievements in it, and quite literally the instant the last one popped I uninstalled this layered midden of dumpster fire refuse. I will never look back fondly on the 10 or so hours I spent on this game.

    GoNNER feels as though it was designed solely for the express purpose of punishing any gamer who dares pick it up. As if paying the developers for their game is some kind of an affront to their reasonability.

    First, the initial in-game tutorial is all there is for help figuring things out. It teaches you a few basic things for how to play like jumping and picking up glyphs. But after that, there's nothing to even hint that something might need exploring. The game has many different skulls, weapons, and trinkets you can use, but it's up to you to figure them out. And what they do isn't always obvious.

    There's exactly one usable weapon for the bulk of the game: the Scythe. This wasn't even in the original release. It shreds through most enemies and bosses (buy the shotgun at the last shop to use on the final boss). Every other weapon is garbage, and trying to use them will see you die very early into the game. Figuring out how to unlock the Scythe is a matter of the strangest experimentation or reading the walkthrough (the walkthrough posted here is very good, btw).

    Levels are randomly generated, and sometimes with bizarre layouts that cluster enemies at the top of narrow ascents so that you can't avoid getting hit. Unless you're wearing the Brick Skull (like the Scythe, it's the only functionally usable item in its category), getting hit by enemies will cause you to drop all of your gear. Usually, your gear is thrown into the nearest group of enemies.

    Why is this a problem? Because when not wearing a skull, any hit is an instant death. So if:

    a) you drop all your stuff when getting damaged
    -and-
    b) your stuff gets thrown into a crowd of unavoidable enemies
    -and-
    c) any hit is an instant kill without gear

    then pretty much taking any damage means a restart.

    There's no dodge mechanic, and even if there was, this is the kind of game that revels in confining the actions available to the user and then breaking its own established rules by introducing enemies that make those limited actions useless. Enemies you can't double jump over. Enemies that swarm from above, or suddenly drop on top of you from off screen, with no ability to aim up. Enemies that literally appear on top of you. The result? You die and restart over, and over, and over again.

    Which brings me to the "Continuing" sequence, which is utterly lame. It costs glyphs in increasing amounts to continue, which is fairly standard. However, what isn't standard is that this amount also increases per level, even if you haven't died. Die for the first time on the final boss? Hope you have full glyphs if you don't want to start over (which you'll need to anyway if you're going for all achievements).

    One of the few neat things about the game is that the music tempo increases as your combo counter goes up. Using the Scythe, it's easy to hit the 100 combo for one of the achievements. However, the neatness of this is overshadowed by the psychedelic colors it produces: the game will go through a series of LSD-inspired overlays before going black-and-white (at which point an achievement will pop). This would be neat if it DID NOT STICK. Playing in anything but the original colors makes the game nearly unplayable, especially black-and-white which really limits contrast. Once you go plaid or whatever, that's the color the game will be until you beat it or start over. And that's just annoying, because it later stages it's hard NOT to get a high combo as you try to clear your way through hordes of swarming enemies. This makes the final boss fight harder, and it's already very, very difficult.

    There's not much dialog in the game to give this useless toil any feeling, or emotion. You play as apparently a dead spirit? Recently deceased or long dead is anybody's guess. And there's a beached whale or something that you befriend? Her name is Sally, but that's really only apparent from the achievement text, not from any in-game clues. And you're supposed to be cheering her up, only she dies anyway? And then you find her carcass at the end of the game, because that's cute... or something?

    After the opening sequence, you encounter Sally twice throughout the game. If you touch her, she apparently increases your ammo but if - AND ONLY IF - you are at full health during these interludes. Otherwise, she just heals you to full health. If you then temporarily discard your gear and "hug" her (by interacting, not just touching), she'll increase your max health. Again, there's no text, popup, or tutorial explaining this. And again, you just have to experiment in unobvious and strange ways or just read the walkthrough.

    This game is awful. It's almost entirely about luck. It's frustrating. It isn't fun or amusing. The only thing justifying even the half star I gave it is that it's mercifully very, very short (which is NOT SUPPOSED to be plus for something you're spending money on). Once you get the feel for the game, it will take about 20 or so minutes to play through to the end. Die on the final boss? Rinse, lather, repeat until you've gotten all the achievements. Uninstall. Never look back.
    .5
    Showing all 5 comments.
    LockieI agree with your review. While the art style is pretty cool, gameplay decisions that the developers chose are frustrating to say the least.

    Also recently my game has started lagging severely on the dropdown worm boss (even though I'm playing on the One X), meaning enemies get free hits on me since my attack inputs don't register. So annoying.
    Posted by Lockie On 07 Jun 20 at 05:52
    AdayinUsing the scythe can mitigate some of that. I always got crazy lag on that stage. But the lag made it really easy to hit some ridiculous combo counters without really trying. Use the scythe to tear it up through the vertical drops and the moment you hit the ground, charge and rush to the right. Mows down everything and pretty much lands you right on the exit.
    Posted by Adayin On 08 Jun 20 at 03:53
    NxblI actually don't agree with your review. I really liked the game, the gameplay and the punishment and almost getting a mental breakdown at the very end boss. The art style is cool and the gameplay is fast paced. I didn't spend any money on it since it's on game pass so I'm not that disappointed. I didn't play if for the story nor for the achievements either. I love arcade games and 2D games especially (Thanks to Rayman rock ). But I totally get when people don't like this game, because it can be so punishing at times when you least need it. I kinda love the challenge and you can play it through within 5-7 min if you're slashing through the enemies like a mad man. But I deinstalled it too as soon as the last cheevo popped since the game has almost no content and there is no reason to play a game again with content length of 5 min.
    Posted by Nxbl On 08 Jun 20 at 15:53
    AdayinI'm glad you enjoyed it! Someone should. Otherwise the games' developers should look into another industry.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy challenging games. I don't enjoy punishing games. I'm not into the video game version of BDSM. I play games for story and entertainment, not to see how twitchy my reaction speed is during white-knuckle, sweaty-palmed furious action sequences for hours on end.

    I don't mind when that's a feature of a few relatively short scenes in a game that's otherwise a pleasure to play. I mind absolutely when a game is built around a set of mechanics which it then goes out of its way to break (or simply abuse) as often as possible for the sole purpose of making the player's life more difficult. And when there are achievements attached that make you have to restart the whole thing over and over for any teensy little mistake, that is not a satisfying experience. And indeed, the only thing satisfying about this game was getting to uninstall it after completing it.

    And I did complete this game, so I have the skills for it, and it did only take me a few hours to complete. I just didn't (personally) enjoy a single moment of it. This kind of experience is not why I (again, personally) play video games.
    Posted by Adayin On 08 Jun 20 at 16:46
    OlivierL57God bless the scythe, and the lightning gun for the final boss, it would be even more frustrating without. The game does have a few interesting ideas in its mechanics, but they are just terribly executed... Not enjoyable at all.
    Posted by OlivierL57 On 31 Mar 21 at 04:32